When it comes to pests, wasps are often among the most common. They have wide-ranging habitats and come into contact with humans frequently, making themselves at home in the same places that humans inhabit. While wasps can certainly be a nuisance to homeowners, it’s also important to understand their habits if you want to avoid their wrath. Below is what you need to know about wasps to protect yourself and your home.
The Danger of Wasps
Wasps tend to pose dangers to humans in the most obvious of ways – they are territorial, and thus they’ll attack anyone who comes too close to their nests. While bee stings tend to get more press, it’s entirely possible for an individual who is allergic to wasps to go into anaphylactic shock after being stung. Even those who aren’t allergic can have unpleasant reactions to the painful stings.
Wasps are, fortunately, not usually the cause of major direct damage to homes. They tend to nest in existing cracks and loose material, which can, unfortunately, exacerbate existing damage. In general, you’ll want to avoid any further problems by engaging the help of wasp nest and bee removal services.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wasps
What Does a Wasp Look Like?
Wasps are often confused for bees, but they do have some distinct features. Their most noticeable trait is their thin waistline. While bees have fairly round bodies, the abdomen of a wasp narrows significantly before connecting to the thorax. Wasps also have much less body hair than bees. Some species of wasp do have some hair, but most are much less hairy than bees.
How Many Types of Wasps Are There?
There are over 30,000 wasp species around the world, 4,000 of which can be found in North America. However, only a few of these species are commonly encountered by residential pest control experts. These are hornets, paper wasps, and yellowjackets.
Types of Wasps in Southwestern Ontario
Hornets make up most of the wasps that you’ll likely encounter. Bald-faced hornets are the most aggressive and will sting repeatedly if they feel threatened. These hornets get their name from their white-patterned faces and black bodies. European hornets are larger than most other hornets. They can sting repeatedly, but they typically aren’t very aggressive.
Paper wasps are about an inch long and have smooth bodies that are mostly brown and yellow. They get their name from the umbrella-shaped paper nests that they build, usually in residential yards. They aren’t that aggressive, but they’ll still sting when threatened.
Finally, yellowjackets are smaller wasps that often resemble bees thanks to their yellow and black markings. Many homeowners consider these wasps to be annoying pests, but they can actually be beneficial to the health of your garden thanks to their diet of other insects.
Where and When You Can Find Wasps
One of the biggest problems with wasps is that you can find them pretty much everywhere that humans live. They live all over North America, in areas ranging from the heart of cities to sparsely inhabited meadows. They do tend to stick to the temperate areas, though, with a range the starts in Southern Canada.
Wasps tend to become more active as the months get warmer. The peak season for the wasps is the summer, with huge numbers of wasps hatching during late June and early July. As a note, that same love of warmth means that wasps tend to be much more active during the day than they are at night, though wasps will defend their nests if you disturb them even when it gets dark.
What Attracts Wasps?
Wasps are usually attracted to anything that could be a source of food and shelter. Any space that has a large population of prey insects will attract wasps, as will human food waste since wasps also feed on nectar and other sweet liquids. Old tree stumps and other sources of rotting wood that can be used as a shelter will also attract wasps. Homeowners can help keep wasps away by removing these sources of dead wood and keeping trash cans covered.
How Many Wasps Are in a Wasp Nest?
Wasp nests are typically much smaller than a bee colony. While bee colonies can reach populations of around 50,000, wasp nests rarely house more than 10,000 wasps at any time. The smallest nests are made by paper wasps and are about the size of a human hand. They typically house less than 200 wasps. The largest wasp nests can be found hanging from porches, trees, and overhangs on your property. These usually contain hornets or yellowjackets.
How to Avoid Being Stung by a Wasp
Many people believe that wasps are aggressive, vindictive, and will sting for no reason. While they are more aggressive than bees, they usually will only sting when they feel threatened. The easiest way to avoid being stung by wasps is to stay calm when you see one. As long as you aren’t flailing your arms or panicking, a wasp won’t see you as a threat and will likely leave you alone. Keep any sweet drinks that you might have covered and avoid sweet-smelling perfume. Both of these will attract hungry wasps.
Are Wasps Dangerous?
Much like bees, wasps can be dangerous to those who are allergic to their stings. While most reactions to wasp stings are mild, they can cause those with allergies to go into fatal anaphylactic shock.
Do Wasps Sting?
Yes, wasps sting. They typically sting only when bothered or threatened, though proximity to the nest does tend to agitate wasps.
Where Do Wasps Build Nests?
Wasps build nests in any spot where they can find shelter. This includes overhangs, inside garages, and they can even build their nests under loose shingles.
How to Keep Wasps Away from Your Home
Remove Sources of Food
The best way to keep wasps away from your home is to remove potential sources of food that might be around. This includes rotting fruit in your trash and dead wood that can be home to prey insects. Keep your garbage cans covered up and pick up trash as you find it in your yard.
Keep an Eye Out for Wasp Nests
Next, check for wasp nests on your property frequently. The smallest nests will be the size of a golf ball, and they are much easier to remove than a large nest containing thousands of insects. Contact a residential pest control service to take care of any nests you find around your home, or a qualified commercial pest control expert for your business.
Close Windows and Openings
Finally, keep your windows closed if you suspect that you have wasps somewhere on your property. Wasps can get into your home through the tiniest of holes, so seal smaller openings with caulk as well.
Wasp Control and Removal in Southwestern Ontario
As always, if you suspect that you have wasps on your property, contact ASAP Pest Control. We can inspect your home and eliminate any nests before they spread out of control.